Backcountry Exposure’s Top 10 Gear List for 2013 – The Go To Gear

With a huge expanse of gear on the market, there is so much to choose from. It can be incredibly difficult to decide what gear is best, or what to buy. Here’s the deal, if it works, and is good, then use it. Good gear doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and having a pretty brand name on it doesn’t make it better than another. All outdoor gear has its uses, and is meant to be used for specific things. 
This is why i’ve compiled my list of go to gear for 2013. In absolutely no particular order, i’ve put together gear that I know has been tested and performs as it should. This list includes jackets, climbing gear, backpacks, pants, shoes, and backpacking gear. All of these items i’ve used or had some kind of experience with the company, and can attest to the awesomeness that each piece of gear emanates!
With the holiday season upon us, any one of these items would make an awesome gift. Now is the time to start building up on gear for our 2014 expeditions. 
To start off the list of go to gear for 2013, is the Petzl Sama/Selena Harnesses. Petzl has really done a good job on the redesign of the Sama harness that was released this year in new colors. In my 13 years of climbing, it’s been hard to find a more comfortable and versatile harness than this bad boy. Petzl has also been able to keep the cost on this harness to a super affordable price. 
Petzl Sama 2 Harness - Men's Petzl Sama 2 Harness – Men’s
The Petzl Sama 2 Harness provides sport climbers with the lightweight performance they need to send, yet is comfortable enough for long sessions spent working out sequences on a project. The waist-belt is wider on the sides, and the elastic leg loops have double-webbing for improved weight distribution, ultimately providing enhanced comfort.

Next on the list is the awesome Osprey Talon 44 Backpack. After 4 days and 30 miles just two weeks ago with this bad boy, I can say it is one of the best backpacks i’ve slung on my back. Super comfy, and lightweight, it is a perfect option for the weekender looking for a bag that offers more than other bags its size. The Talon 44 has a ton a space, and is simple in design. The design of it is a huge benefit for the person looking for space that doesn’t gobble up your gear.

Osprey Packs Talon 44 Backpack - 2600-2700cu in Osprey Packs Talon 44 Backpack – 2600-2700cu in
Big enough for well-planned loops and even thru-hikes, the expandable and highly adjustable Osprey Talon 44 Backpack hauls your gear comfortably thanks to its sturdy but lightweight suspensions system. Adjust the padded, movable harness to fit your torso size before you pack up your gear and then feel how the aluminum frame and head cup form a rigid structure that doesn’t flop around as you scramble up another rocky ridge.

Rab has become one of my absolute favorite brands this year. The gear they make fits right, and is super bomber. The Rab Myriad Jacket is the perfect jacket for someone looking for a new hardshell. Made from the awesome Polartec NeoShell fabric, this thing is bound to keep you dry even in the wettest conditions.

Rab Myriad Jacket - Men's Black, M Rab Myriad Jacket – Men’s Black, M
Whether you’re braving torrential rains or swinging ice tools on a frozen pillar, zip up the Rab Men’s Myriad Jacket for complete weather protection that won’t restrict your movement. The three-layer Polartec NeoShell fabric shrugs off wet weather yet is highly breathable so you’ll stay comfy when you break a sweat. A generous amount of fabric stretch allows you to move freely, and the wire peak in the hood keeps the rain off of your face.

I’ve said it before, but here it is again. Mont Bell is one of the better jackets i’ve owned in my large selection of outerwear found in my closet. The Mont Bell Thermawrap Pro is one of the warmest jackets i’ve ever worn. Utah gets cold, and out climbing it has been the go to synthetic insulator to keep my core nice and toasty. Mont Bell makes some of my favorite pieces of clothing on the market to date.

MontBell Thermawrap Pro Insulated Jacket - Men's Dark Navy, M MontBell Thermawrap Pro Insulated Jacket – Men’s Dark Navy, M
MontBell follows the Japanese tradition of kinobi: function is beauty. The Men’s Thermawrap Pro Insulated Jacket embodies this philosophy by combing the highest quality mountaineering features into a lightweight, simple parka. 80 grams of improved Exceloft insulation make the Thermawrap Pro 10% warmer and more packable than older models–compressing down to fit into the included 5.7in x 10.5in stuff sack–while retaining the synthetic insulation’s hydrophobic properties. Windproof nylon treated with DWR provides a soft, quite, and durable face fabric perfect for mixed or wet conditions. Stay comfortable during mountain ascensions and everyday outings with the ballistic nylon taffeta lining. Zippered handwarmer pockets and two internal drop pockets keep your hands free when traversing difficult terrain. The unobtrusive elastic cuffs, two-way adjustable hood, and hidden hem drawcord lock out wind and cold during extended hikes in less-than-favorable weather. Weighing in at just under a pound, the Thermawrap Pro is the perfect mid-layer jacket to stuff in your duffel while traveling or tuck in you pack during a week-long mountaineering trip.

Next on the list is a quick draw for climbing that has dominated my rack of gear. The DMM Phantom Wire Gate Quick Draw is one of the lightest and smallest quick draw setups on the market. DMM by far makes some of the best climbing gear, and the Phantom stands as a testament to that claim. Any climber would love having this quick draw to clip their rope into.

DMM Phantom Wire Gate Quickdraw DMM Phantom Wire Gate Quickdraw
With two wiregate carabiners and an ultralight Dyneema sling, the DMM Phantom Quickdraw takes on any rock or ice pitch you encounter. This 2-ounce quickdraw provides easy clipping from a sketchy stance, and its burly I-beam construction provides 23kN of strength if you blow it. Neither the Phantom Quickdraw’s wire gates or the Dyneema sling will freeze in cold weather, which makes this a great choice for winter use.

As some of the lightest and most comfortable mountain running shoes, the La Sportiva Helios Mountain Runners will keep any runners feet happy while out on the trail. Super lightweight and ultra comfy, the Helios features La Sportiva’s amazing FriXion sole and only a 4mm drop.

La Sportiva Helios Trail Running Shoe - Men's La Sportiva Helios Trail Running Shoe – Men’s
Although it’s a minimalist shoe at heart, the La Sportiva Men’s Helios Trail Running Shoe doesn’t skimp on the features you need to tackle rough trails. An integrated tongue gusset keeps debris out of the ankle collar, the highly flexible MorphoDynamic midsole adapts to rough trails like none other, and the mesh upper drains water away quickly in case you’re forced to run through a stream. Slide your foot inside this low-drop trail runner and enjoy the natural feeling of being closer to the ground.

If you have not owned clothing from Prana before, then now is the time. Prana is a leader in the climbing and yoga apparel market. I mean, they have Chris Sharma as one of their athletes! But seriously, the Prana Brion Pant is the perfect pair of pants for the casual climber looking for a slim styled pant. Super stretchy and burly, these pants make you look good while on the rock.

prAna Brion Pant - Men's Charcoal, 34x32 prAna Brion Pant – Men’s Charcoal, 34×32
Whether you’re rushing to work or casually trekking through an overnight section of the Pacific Crest Trail, the prAna Brion Pants keep you going.

Time for cooking talk. I had my inaugural introduction to GSI Outdoors products this year. After using exclusively MSR cooking pots and gear for years and years, I thought I would venture out to some other companies. GSI has made some amazing pots for the big time backpacker. The GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist Cookset is the perfect cookset for two people. A large pot to boil enough water for two people, and bowls/mugs that make eating and cleanup a breeze!

GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist Cookset GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist Cookset
The longer the trail, the tastier the dinner. Especially when you and a partner use the GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist Cookset to cook and eat your backcountry grub. At a little over a pound, this ultralight cookset supplies you and a camp companion with a cooking pot, a strainer lid, two bowls, two insulated mugs, two sip-it lids, two telescoping foons, a stove bag, and a welded sink-stuff sack.

Big Agnes in my opinion has really come onto the market as a brand to keep your eye on. Making all sorts of awesome gear, the Fly Creek UL series tents are bound to make your pack a few pounds lighter without compromising comfort. Coming in at only a couple pounds, the Fly Creek tents setup easy and are built tough. No doubt any of these tents would be a great addition to any persons backpacking setup.

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3 Tent: 3-Person 3-Season Cool Gray/Gold, One Size Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3 Tent: 3-Person 3-Season Cool Gray/Gold, One Size
Tell your buddy that you’ll carry the tent if he carries the food. He’ll jump on that deal, not knowing that the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3 Three-Person, Three-Season Tent (built for those looking to shave grams) weighs less than breakfast. Try not to get too far ahead on the hike, though. He’ll know that something is up.

And to sum up the list for 2013 is the classic Patagonia R2 Jacket. Patagonia has been a dominator in the outdoor industry for years, and the R2 Jacket is one of the most popular jackets they make. I’ve had mine for years, and as a nice fall or late spring layer, it keeps the chill off. Use it as a midweight layer out on the snow when skiing and look good while at it!

Patagonia R2 Fleece Jacket - Men's Black, S Patagonia R2 Fleece Jacket – Men’s Black, S
It’s March, so that means three things: Corn skiing, chillin’ and grillin’ in the parking lot at 3 p.m. You’re wearing your Patagonia Men’s R2 Fleece Jacket as your outer layer afternoon and evening. Made with directionally knit Polartec Thermal Pro fabric grid fleece, the R2 provides excellent stretch and warmth, while it wicks moisture and breathes throughout variable temperatures. Patagonia has put the R1’s Polartec Power Dry high/low grid fabric on the R2’s side panels, underarms and lower torso for improved fit, shape and abrasion resistance. The Polartec Power Dry is a new fabric this year, and was engineered to make these fleece insulation layers even more breathable and compressible than previous years. So, while it’s great by itself, when it gets even colder, you can use it as a mid-to-heavy underlayer. The short-shear, high-loft fleece material has a smooth appearance but gives an incredible warmth-to-weight ratio. In addition to the tech, the R2 is made with fit and function in mind. The center-front zipper has Sonic/Stitch seam construction to reduce bulk, and the soft, kissing-welt zipper garage at chin makes it more comfortable. Check out the discreet, on-seam thumb loops so you can hold your cold beverage and not have to duck your hands into one of the two high-hand pockets. Those pockets have Slim Zip installs, clean finished zipper garages, and are harness- and pack-compatible. There’s also one left chest pocket and two internal drop-in mesh pockets for even more organization.

Well, there you have it! Backcountry Exposure’s Top 10 Gear List for 2013, The Go To Gear!


One thought on “Backcountry Exposure’s Top 10 Gear List for 2013 – The Go To Gear

  1. Thanks for the great list! I really liked what you said about the RAB jackets. I need a new insulating layer, maybe I will check them out! Have you ever worn the Prana Zion pants? I love mine. Also, I am very impressed that you did four days out of a 44 liter pack! Well done my friend.

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